A new study, led by MIT researchers, found that when hourly temperatures reach 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit), people are 5 percent less likely to go to public parks, and when hourly temperatures hit 35 C (95 F), people are 13 percent less likely to go to those parks.
The study used anonymized data for 900 million cellphone users in China in 2017 and temperature data from about 2,000 weather stations in China. The study found that extreme temperatures have a much larger effect on human activity than previously estimated, and that people protect themselves from the heat by limiting activity, but lose the benefit of going out to enjoy themselves in nature or meeting friends in parks.
“We found that if we take into account this within-day adaptation, extreme temperatures actually have a much larger effect on human activity than the previous daily or monthly estimations [indicate],” said Yichun Fan, an MIT doctoral candidate and another of the paper’s co-authors.
“We did observe adaptation,” said Siqi Zheng, an MIT professor and co-author of a new paper using the study’s findings. “Environmental hazards hurt the daily quality of life. Yes, people protect themselves [by limiting activity], but they lose the benefit of going out to enjoy themselves in nature, or meeting friends in parks.”
You can read more about the study here.
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